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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Physical State of Water in Plant Xylem Vessels1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 60 No. 2, p. 167-169
    Received: May 27, 1967

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  1. John W. Cary,
  2. Marvin E. Jensen and
  3. Herbert D. Fisher2



The vapor pressure psychrometer was used as a tool to study the physical state of water in plant xylem vessels. The experimental procedure involved measuring the change in diffusion pressure deficit (DPD) of corn and tomato plants when the stem was cut. When the DPD was greater than 4 bars in tomatoes and 28 bars in corn, the water in xylem vessels no longer appeared to flow in response to hydrostatic pressure gradients. The limiting value of DPD increased as the xylem radius decreased. A mechanism is suggested which describes the physical state and the movement of water through xylem tissue under high DPD. The proposal is based on the pressure difference across a curved air-water interface and on the concept of an electrostatic double layer with its associated osmotic pressure.

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